UNI’s Metal Casting Center receives $1.5 million grant from Iowa Economic Development Authority

WATERLOO, Iowa — Last week, the Iowa Economic Development Authority board approved a $1.5 million Strategic Infrastructure Program (SIP) grant to the University of Northern Iowa’s (UNI) Metal Casting Center (MCC).

“The funding is an example of Iowa’s commitment to support growth in the manufacturing sector through advanced technologies,” said Jerry Thiel, MCC’s director. “Several equipment manufacturers have already expressed their interest in partnering with the university to explore new opportunities through joint research and development programs.”  

Over the past four years, the Additive Manufacturing Center facility, located at TechWorks Campus in Waterloo, has expanded its large-format sand printing services to include a student engineering center, polymer printing lab and a robotic mold machining center. The SIP grant will continue this expansion into investment castings. “This funding provides an opportunity to further expand UNI’s role in keeping Iowa as the leader in additive manufacturing for investment castings and support businesses across the state,” said Randy Pilkington, director of UNI’s Business and Community Services.

Projects funded by the SIP must have a goal of providing a competitive advantage to the private sector or create needed physical infrastructure in Iowa. The new equipment that will be purchased will do just that, allowing the MCC to advance metal casting technology in the state which will then be transferred throughout the industry with MCC assisting in its adoption and utilization.

“This is a rare opportunity to serve as an innovative leader in building a technology that can transform the castings industry,” said Pilkington.

For more information, contact Joe Bolick, communications and public relations manager for Business and Community Services, at 319-273-6577 or mjbolick@uni.edu.

About the University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Center

The University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Center was established in 1990 with a grant from the Iowa Lottery to serve foundries and foundry suppliers in Iowa. The UNI MCC has been a leader in foundry innovations and added 3D sand mold printing capabilities in 2014. Since then, the UNI MCC has worked with more than 100 small and medium enterprises across Iowa and the Midwest as well as with all branches of the U.S. military.


Joe Bolick, communications and public relations manager, Business and Community Services, 319-273-6577, mjbolick@uni.edu

Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761